This week, our Grade 12 students hosted an all-school intersession day which saw students take part in activities designed to pass along and share stories of connection, tradition, and culture at LCS. And, most important, build the leadership confidence of their younger peers. This event was dubbed The Culture Project by our Co-Head students. We spoke to those involved in organizing the day’s events to learn more about their motivation and goals.
Catherine Kim ’21, Grade 12 Class Representative and Co-Head student spoke with us about the genesis of The Culture Project. “The senior students felt some concern for the next school year. We feel that the Grade 11 students didn’t have the same platform to launch into their final year as we did and so this project started because we wanted to give them opportunities to prepare to be seniors and leaders at LCS in the fall.”
When speaking about why she felt students weren’t prepared for the leadership responsibilities involved with being a Grade 12 student, Catherine spoke about the evolution of school culture in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. “COVID is a part of our story and LCS is also a story of 142 years...we want to make sure that the past of Lakefield, the present of Lakefield, and the future of Lakefield will forever be amazing and the culture will evolve with us.” Although some LCS traditions and events couldn’t take place this year (or took place in a modified fashion), the senior students hope that these core activities will continue to be passed along (in whatever way possible) to our younger students.
“We want the Grade 9, 10, and 11 students to know that just because this past school year was different, their experience isn’t any less valuable than that of our alumni or Old Boys’*.” The senior students emphasized that an atypical year at LCS was still a year full of memory making and fun; their wish is that any part of life at LCS that couldn’t be experienced in 2020 and 2021 will be passed on when it is safe to do so.
“Once we’re gone, the culture gets passed on and we want to ensure that... the general sense of what it means to be a Lakefield student is passed on to the next class of senior students.”
Early on, when the idea for the project was just a spark, Head of School Anne-Marie Kee met with both Co-Head students, Catherine ’21 and Jack Freeman ’21 to discuss their plans.
“It’s been such an honour to work with our Grade 12s as they plan what we’re calling ‘The Culture Project.’ It really began with Jack and Catherine coming to me saying that they’re worried that in the pandemic, they haven’t had enough opportunities to be together as a school, or as a grade, to understand the culture of our school. In a school where culture is everything, and...where we do so much that’s experiential, it’s important that we don’t lose all of the history and traditions and rituals that are so critical to who we are at Lakefield.”
When speaking about the changes our community has undergone throughout the past year, Ms. Kee shared her aspirations for Lakefield. “My dream is that we don’t look at this pandemic as a time of loss and disappointment; it’s a time when we are redefining who we are as a school and we should feel excited about that.”
We are so proud of the initiative and drive our students have to lead their peers with such meaningful intention in a positive direction. Their dedication and determination to maintain our school’s traditions speaks volumes about what these activities and events mean to our community. As Jack ’21 said, “We want to focus on creating moments at LCS...for yourself and for younger grades. We want to focus on sharing experiences and talking about how to make new experiences.” This year certainly has been filled with new experiences and we’re confident that our Grade 9, 10, and 11 students will take these experiences and use them to fuel an even more spirited 2021/22 school year!
This day was full of workshops, activities, and guest speakers. The goal for the day is multifold. The Grade 12 students organizing the events wanted to capture all of the things that are important to Lakefield as well as initiatives designed to have students reflect, build creative confidence, communication and leadership skills. It featured four engaging and meaningful keynote speakers addressing specific themes for each grade including:
Retired LCS Faculty member and History Teacher Bruce McMahon share his perspective on LCS Culture and History with the Grade 9 class
LCS alumnus, Carlo Bos ’94 talked to our Grade 10 students about culture and connection
Jalynn Bosley met with our Grade 11 students to talk about learning outdoors and establishing strong values
Motivational speaker, Nathan Harmon shared his journey with our Grade 12 students and reminded them of the importance of building and maintaining connections
Congratulations and thank you to our student leaders for planning and organizing a fun-filled and meaningful day for our community. You are an inspiration to us all!
* “Old Boys” is the affectionate nickname for LCS alumni who graduated before 1990.